Sunday, 27 July 2014

Hexie Twelve

Here is the pre-Christmas hexie.  There are no Christmas trees or ornaments or presents on this block because the children in the image are gathering Holly to decorate their home. Therefore it is all about the joy of preparing for Christmas. It is all about Holly and Snow and Garlands and Candles.  This was a fun block to work on and a fun time to escape back to - not that we decorated our homes in Australia with any of the above - for us it was all about keeping cool in the Summer heat, barbecues and salads and going to the beach - with artificial holly and fake snow thrown in just to make it look like an authentic Northern Hemisphere Christmas.

For the backing and binding colour for this block, I tried both red and green and both of them looked terrible, I tried cream and it was too stark so in the end, I settled for this gold colour which is warm and does pick up the colours in the gold braid and the patch on the side with JOY in the centre.
It is not until I see the photos that I can see areas that need tweaking, for instance that top left-hand mitre is way pointier that the rest and needs to be reduced down to size.  In the flesh, it is not nearly so noticable but it cannot stay that way.......Mrs Perfect has spoken!!!!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Hexie 11 finished - Poppies

Here is my eleventh hexagon block which is based upon an image of a bunch of Poppies, Daisies and little mauve flowers. This block was a challenge in that it only had five colours - orange, green, mauve, yellow and dark brown (plus a few white daisy petals). The purple sequin flowers are paler than they appear in the photo - blame the scanner again.......

Friday, 18 July 2014

Hexagon 10 finished

This is a close-up of the embroidery worked with two strands of floss which was variegated, dyed with pink and green which ran into one another. The pink section was worked in French Knots and the green in detached Lazy Daisy leaves.

This is a very girly hexie because of the colours in the original image of three little girls with their puppy. Because of the colours in the hexie I had trouble choosing which colour to use for the backing......I tried pink, purple and green before settling for the pastel lemon which reflects the lemon patch and the middle girl's dress.

I tried two experiments with this patch, one was the border beneath the blue patch which was worked using a variegated pink/green thread. Whenever the pink colour was the one to be used, I stitched French Knots and whenever the green thread was the one to be used, I stitched Detached Chain Lazy Daisy leaves. The end result was a very natural graduation from one colour to the other.  The second experiment was the green couched cord on the lemon patch. It was originally part of a bulky green braid which I unpicked back to basics to get the cord, some woven tubing and some matching nylon thread. Then I couched the cord down in a wavy pattern which filled up the lemon patch without being too heavy.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Hexagon block 9 completed

Here is hexie 9 now that the turned facing has been tweaked so it is the exact size of the others and the Feather Stitching has been  completed.  I love this little boy, he reminds me so much of my two year old grandson Joel only Joel would not be sailing paper boats in the pond - he would be IN the pond!!

I removed the auto-corrected hexie and replaced it with this one which is the natural colours of the fabric and threads. It looks better without that dense, bright colour-tones.
As for Jolly-Wolly, he looks exactly like this, lol.

Crazy Quilted Hexagon Tutorial

When I started making my crazy quilted hexagon quilt, I had no intention of ever typing the instructions so my measurements are in both metric and imperial.  The six sides of my finished hexagon measure 11cm or 4 1/2 inches long, from point to point it it measures 22cm or 8 5/8 inches across and from straight side to straight side, it measures 19cm or 7 1/2 inches.  You will need to cut one cardboard template the exact size that your finished hexagons are going to be. It doesn’t matter what size they are, the method of putting them together is exactly the same and those two outer lines will always need to be 1/2 inch apart.

Take another piece of cardboard and draw around your original hexagon template, Draw a line along all sides 1/2 inches out from that and another line 1/2 inch out again.  This is the size of your backing fabric pieces.   Cut your wadding and your base fabric hexies from the smaller template.

Because I wanted a “silkie” or Victorian style image printed on fabric in the centre of each hexie, I printed them out first and cut them out leaving a white area around the edges which will be covered by cq fabric and embroidery.  I machine stitched one silkie roughly in the middle of each hexie but only stitching down one side, just enough to secure the image to the fabric base. Once your crazy quilting and embellishing is finished your can begin to put the  quilt as you go hexie together.  I usually place each hexie right side down on a towel and give it a light press with a moderately hot iron.  From experience and valuable hindsight I avoid ironing plastic beads or flowers—the ironing is mainly just to smooth out any wrinkles caused by the embroidery.

At this point, time spent in preparation and attention to detail is crucial to getting the hexies to fit together neatly. This is one area that I don’t rush, it’s not worth hurrying only to have to unpick it later because the hexies are not exactly the same size.

Place the large cardboard template on a flat surface then lay the plain backing fabric on top and the wadding in the centre of the backing piece.  Finally lay the crazy quilted hexie on top of the wadding, matching all sides.

Turn one side of the backing over to the first line on the template and then make a second turning so that the folded edge is level with the inner line.  Pin or clip to secure.   Repeat this around all six sides taking a lot of care where the mitres meet and making sure that both edges are exactly level with one another.  Sometimes I have had to go around and around several times, changing the pins and the fold lines and keeping the edges exactly on the ruled lines on the template.

Before I attempt to slip-stitch the turnings down with invisible stitches, I actually tack or baste the hems in place—one of the few occasion when I bother to baste—because I can imagine the thread getting looped around one of several pins with each stitch.  Note that the top point of this hexie is going to have to be unpicked and tweaked some more until it sits exactly on the line—it is still a bit high. While I am working the slip-stitching, I take three or four invisible stitches up the seams at each corner to hold them secure. I iron the edges of each hexie again to flatten the turnings and finish off with the black Feather Stitching.

Once the hexies are done, the wadding is sandwiched in the middle between the crazy quilted upper layer and the backing pieces so the hexies are ready to be top-sewn together on the wrong side and this is when it is obvious if one of the hexies is larger or smaller than the is the front and back views of my first eight hexies. I will add them one at a time as they get finished until the quilt is the desired size to fit my bed.


Friday, 11 July 2014

Blocks 7 and 8 completed

Over the last two or three days I have been working on blocks 7 and 8 and also stitching the first seven blocks into a 'flower'.  I will take a photo of that later but for now, here is the butterfly block 7 and the Little Mermaid block 8 which is one of my favourites so far. The outside binding of this one is a very pale shell pink - I tried a dull turquoise first, then a brighter pink but in the end, I think this colour shows up the delicate mermaid colours best.

This block was a bit of a challenge mainly because the image was not very defined.  It is of a bunch of Dog-roses with a brightly coloured butterfly hovering over the top.  The butterfly was a tricky colour combination to match.  The Salvation Army Thrift Shop came to the rescue once again with another pair of Butterfly earrings for $2.99.

This is one of my very favourite blocks because of the delicate colours in the mermaid silkie. I love this print so I made the block "under-the-sea" colours and designs without actually being totally UTS. The shell sequins are not really that bright pink, they are pale, shell pink iridescent tones which the scanner has made pink and yellow.......

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Hexagon number 6 finished. Children picking Blackberries

I have spent the whole day stitching because of the weather and the World Cup on TV.  The weather is perfect for stitching - cold, wet, blowy, occasional thunder in the distance........fabulous, I love it.  DH in the meantime is glued to the television watching the World Cup soccer - I hate it but it means that I can sew to my heart's content and not feel guilty about it.  This block is totally different to the previous ones because it is much more earthy and outdoorsy mainly because of the colours in the central image.

I enjoyed the challenge of this one and it also reminded me of two occasions while on holiday in England visiting my mother-in-law when Eddie and I went picking Brambles or Blackberries (aren't they the same thing?). The first time was in 2000 on a disused railway embankment. It had been raining and Eddie said "Be careful, it's very muddy here!" and suddenly I went whoosh.....down the slope in that very same mud!  I had a pleated tartan skirt and a cream waterproof jacket on and as I slid down the embankment, I landed face down in a prickly bramble bush.  Eddie was horrified until I started giggling - my skirt had caught on the Bramble bush while the rest of me kept sliding, consequently there I was in the mud, all knickers and legs while my skirt bore the brunt of the prickles. Somehow, in the middle of the slide, I deposited the bowl of berries right side up on the ground.

Second time was much more civilised. In 2010 we wandered around an area of waste ground next to my mum-in-law's place which had been a coal-yard but which was now completely over-run with spindly trees and hundreds of prickly Brambles. We took a bucket and filled it to the brim then I went home and cooked up a storm.  I made Blackberry pies, Blackberries to go with custard or icecream and Blackberries in jelly and when we went home to Australia, I left Mum with lots of little bags of frozen Blackberries to use later on. Sadly when we returned three years later, the whole area had been taken over by a housing development but I will always have fond memories of our "brambling" adventure.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Hexie number 5 completed - Three Angels

This block went together easily because I seemed to be able to pull whatever I needed in the way of embellishments out of my cq hat.  Before I started, I checked out my local Salvation Army charity shop and low and behold.......a pair of bee earrings!!  Perfect!! The pink silky satin stuff on the left where the bees are became very puffy so I sorted it with some Indian Kantha quilting with gold thread to show where the bees had been weaving in and out of the roses..........well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it, lol, and it did solve the puffy problem - sort of.  In the afternoon I was going to drive to the local quilt shop to choose some backing fabrics but DH was suffering from Cabin Fever from being in the house day after day because of the cold weather so he offered to come too. I chose 15 colours and bought 25cm of each then DH chose this mustard yellow to back this block because it matches the girl's dress and the two ares of yellow fabric. When I'd finished he remarked "That black Feather Stitch really finishes it off, doesn't it?"  Yes it does.  "That was my idea, wasn't it?" Yes it was....... I will always value his input as I think he has pretty good colour sense. Tomorrow he has another session of chemotherapy so that means I will have at least 1 1/2 hours to stitch on Hexie 6 while I'm waiting for him.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Hexie Number 4 completed

Today I finished Hexagon number 4, a young lady in a cool Summery yellow dress holding a bunch of pink roses. I used some of my flower beads as well as making some yellow rolled ribbon roses. I broke all the rules when once the block was finished I thought that the lace at the bottom was a bit wishy-washy and pale so I got a small brush and some olive/lime green dye and painted the leaves green. Then I stitched the darker coral coloured centres to the flowers in one strand of embroidery cotton. This is the way that I will finish off each block, with a plain border to match the individual block and black Feather Stitching around the inside edge. So far, block 1 is edged in Royal Blue, block 2 in Lime green and block 3 in a darker version of Coral colour.  One thing I learnt from this block is "don't iron plastic butterfly beads"..........they melt, these ones are replacements, lol.